Monday, October 11, 2010
"Don't go too high!"
She watched him swing around the trunk and spring up two more branches. They were too small. They bent horribly under his fourteen-year-old weight.
"That's going to break!" she said.
"Which one do you want?" he said, looking to the last bunch of good apples. "Do you like them green, or beginning to turn red?"
"Beginning to turn red."
He palmed two of the green ones and stuffed them in his pocket. He plucked the red one she had her eye on with an all-or-nothing grab. She couldn't look. He was going to fall for sure.
"Catch!" he said.
She peeked just soon enough see the sailing apple. She caught it with the quick flash of her hands.
"Nice one!" he said.
She sighed in relief. He didn't fall after all.
Two old boots slapped onto the ground and were followed by the rest of him. In his usual, fluid way, he flashed out a knife and held out his hand. He rubbed her apple on his shirt and began slicing wedges.
"Easier to eat that way," he said.
She bunched the slices in her hand, and he moved on to one of his own.
They munched across from one another as little gusts loosened orange and salmon leaves. They fluttered like burnt summer rain. The red maples were bright and in full color.
The silence didn't feel comfortable to her. Maybe she should say something. Some fun conversation. But talking with her mouth full wouldn't be very charming.
"You know, you don't have to hang around out here if you don't want to," he said.
The sensation in her face drained.
"I mean, you're probably bored," he said.
Yeah, no sensation in her fingertips either.
"No," she said softly. "I'm not bored. But if you want me to go...."
That seemed to jostle him. He mishandled the knife and fumbled before he could pick it up.
"No!" he said. "What I meant to say is, I just, its not that I want you to go. I like having you out here, actually. With me, I mean. I just wasn't sure if you do...."
A different feeling rushed in where the numbness had been.
She smiled an even bigger smile.
"I like hanging out with you," he said, dropping his gaze to his lap where he turned the apple in his hand.
"Me too," she said.
She bit another piece of apple. "Cool."